rich menga books search contact

***Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

Amazon links are affiliated. Learn more.

Alnico 2 vs. alnico 3 vs. alnico 5 Stratocaster guitar pickup magnets

DiMarzio DP416

Above is a DiMarzio DP416 a.k.a. Area 61 pickup for a Stratocaster guitar. It uses an alnico 2 magnet. Why would you want this over the DP117 a.k.a. HS-3 with its alnico 5 magnet? Let's find out.

Alnico means a pickup magnet composed of aluminum, nickel and cobalt. Take the first two letters of each and you end up with al-ni-co. I've stated this before but am stating it again to remind readers that alnico refers to materials and is not a company name.

In a general sense, the number next to alnico refers to magnet strength. The higher the number, the greater the magnetic pull.

More often than not, Strat players prefer the stronger alnico 5 pickup magnet, and I'm of the same opinion.

Why would anyone want the 2 or the 3 when there's the 5? Pickup voicing. With the DiMarzio Strat pickups in particular, the choice of the magnets with less pull in the Area 61 mentioned above, Area 58 and Area 67 make for a tone with reduced bass and midrange but a ton of crisp treble on top.

The DP117 on the other hand, while having a lot more "blare" to it with more pronounced midrange and bass, has significantly less treble...

...which may be exactly what you want, depending on your play style.

Vintage style '50s and '60s electric guitar tones have tons of treble on top, so the choice of alnico 2 in the vintage-voiced DiMarzio pickups totally makes sense. More modernized tones for guitar soloing and blaring rock chords that the DP117 provides also totally make sense.

The only thing that wouldn't make sense is mix-and-matching alnico 2 with alnico 5, because one pickup will always be overpowering the other either in output or treble, resulting in a tone that really won't sound that great.

As for the alnico 3 magnet, that's also found in certain Strats as well, even for Squier.

For example, the Squier Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster does in fact have pickups with alnico 3 magnets in them, while the Squier Classic Vibe '60s Stratocaster has pickups with alnico 5 magnets. In other words, a Classic Vibe Squier with the 1-piece maple neck has the alnico 3 magnets in the pickups and the one with the rosewood fingerboard has the alnico 5 magnets.

Which should you use for your Stratocaster?

Alnico 5 is the go-to magnet when not using ceramic because it agrees with most players. But for something that suits '50s and '60s rock along with super-twangy country tones, the alnico 2 and 3 magnets suit very nicely there.

This is not to say that alnico 5 can't do '50s/'60s/country sounds because it totally can, but when you really want that "sparkle" on top, the alnico 2 and 3 magnets really make a difference - provided the pickup is voiced correctly. Squier does voice their CV Strats correctly, and DiMarzio's Area series pickups are also voiced very well for what they are.

📰Get Rich's newsletter to be notified of new articles

Best ZOOM R8 tutorial book
highly rated, get recording quick!

⭐ Recent Posts

Boss RC-5 Loop Station Guitar Looper PedalWill looper drums ever not suck?
It is amazing that this problem still exists.

The best looking Dean Z I've ever seen
This is an example of when Dean does the Z right.

Black Sabbath - Black SabbathMy favorite Black Sabbath track from their first album
It's not what you think it is.

Epiphone Prophecy Les PaulA secret of the Epiphone Prophecy Les Paul hiding in plain sight
It's right in front of your face and you probably didn't even notice it

Fender Player MustangShorter scale guitars with the most bang for the buck
You can go short without spending too much nor getting something too cheap.

🔥 Popular Posts 🔥

Casio F-91WCasio F-91W cheat sheet
A quick guide on how to set the time, date and a few other tips and tricks.

How to use the DigiTech JamMan Solo XT looper pedal
Yes, I bought one of these. And it's complicated.

Squier Thinline TelecasterGetting a lightweight electric guitar the easy way
Many guitars bust over 8lbs (3.6kg) in weight. Can we go lighter and still get something good? Yes, we can.

Top 5 classic electric guitar looks
There are certain guitars out there that when made with certain woods (just for appearance) and colors define the classic look for that particular instrument.

Fender Modern Player JaguarQuick Review: Fender Modern Player Jaguar
I tried a "2 Color Chocolate Sunburst" Fender Modern Player Jaguar with MP90 pickups.

Fender American Professional Stratocaster Olympic White Maple FingerboardDid you know Fender has 8 white guitar body color options?
When it comes to guitars, white is not white. In fact, it's usually anything but white.

Bought a Wally looper
Yep, I took the plunge and bought one.